I have a crush on the conference. On all the people. Well, almost all of them.
For some, it's about their snarkiness. For another, it's about his purist values. For her it's based in her silliness, her wit and charm and stories. For another it's about his long, soft drawl. For some it's about their open mind, their passion for the craft, their unwavering focus.
We are a strange bunch. We have come out of our respective kitchens, our long days and nights, to rub our eyes with the backs of our fists and screw our faces into wrinkly little question marks, cocking our heads to the side and saying, "huh? where am I? this is not my beautiful station. this is not my regular day. how did I get here?"
And then we relax. We feed each other foods from our minds, from our hearts, from our pasts, and from the future. We are time travelers in all directions possible.
We are alchemists and sorcerers, yeses and possibles, fantasy and fiction, reality and compromise, commercialized and cutting edge, safe and naughty, massive production and fine dining, tall and short, sweet and salty, artisans and scientists, competitive and naive, foreign and familiar, vanilla and power play, bitter and sweet, curious and infamous, voracious and complacent, important and sturdy, crunchy and smooth, frozen and molten, fancy and rustic, brazen and cautious, traditionalists and guerrillas, seasonal and not, grayed and dyed, hoarse and quiet, restaurant and bakery, known and obscure.
We are all these things, not these lists, binary and encompassing.
It's lovely to see us in our whites, and not. To see a person on new soil, in the warm air of an early summer devoid of rain in Napa.
There is a walk to dinner and I am telling my companions about the black walnut root stock on which English walnuts are grafted. There are the conversations about sugars and how to better understand the range of ingredients we still, although work with every day, know little about.
We flirt and tease. Laugh and listen. Inspire. Ask questions.
I love the questions. Especially the ones we will not strive to answer. The ones which lead me to more and more questions. It means we are a thinking gang. We tie our thoughts up and take them on the open road. We beg questions and eat questions and sleep on feather-beds filled with thousands of tiny curly question marks.
We let questions roll off our tongues, or we pull them back onto the farthest reaches of our tongues, savoring, savoring questions.
For, in the end, no matter the desserts we create, our questions remain unanswered. Forever we will ask them. Forever will our craft lay before us like a never-ending horizon line; seemingly definitive, but elusive and out of reach. No matter. We will continue to walk and prance and skip and hop in parabolas and sprint and meander and slide and gallop and glide towards that horizon.
Being here means that we will meet along the way. Those who came before, those who will come after. We hear stories of people passed and those about to pass.
We connect, we share, we dish, we watch, we laugh with recognition. And then we sleep. And dream.